Eeyore on Steroids: “I’d Look on the Bright Side if I Could Find it!”

I gave my usual ‘I need your best person because I’m a really hard stick’ speech to the pleasant lady checking me in for bloodwork. She was unable to locate orders which was strange as I had literally JUST walked across the hall after meeting with my doctor with clear instructions to go straight to the lab. The last thing I needed was more waiting, escalating the anxiety.

I had prayed for an uneventful appointment with my Stanford doctor, and so far, my prayer was answered… other than a possible naked man leaning his backside against an apartment window on the hospital grounds. I say possible because at first glance, I would SWEAR that’s what I saw and not wanting to stare, I can’t completely confirm.

My anxiety was simply based on dreading needles, NOT on any unusual findings. Everything was fairly routine with a quick scope procedure and check-up. The biggest challenge for all my doctors is managing follow-up care for lynch syndrome. My oncologist stated she spends a chunk of time the night before she sees me analyzing where we are and what needs to be done.

High maintenance in yet another area of my life! Hah!

After 30 minutes of entertaining myself with heating pads on my uncooperative veins, it was finally my turn. The lab is set up in a circle with full view of everyone getting their blood drawn. While contemplating the reasoning for this, I was directed to take the one and only chair in the middle of the awkward circle. I guess she hadn’t picked up on what a baby I am and how this might not be the best idea to have all eyes on me.

Even though the lab tech was amazing, I still found myself fighting the usual tears as I prepared to leave. It’s my moment of feeling sorry for myself, sad I have to walk through this. I’m sure it’s just my way of releasing all the emotions of getting through another doctor visit and hoping everything is fine.

Rounding the corner to the waiting room, I saw a family friend. It was great to see her and she quickly caught me up on the details of the last few months of her life. Cancer had been found in her spinal fluid and now she was undergoing harsh treatments of radiation and chemo in hopes of prolonging her life.

As crazy as it sounds, she looked wonderful! Even in the midst of describing horrific details, she was absolutely radiating with positivity. She laughed often, joyfully declaring how God is in control no matter the interruption to how she thought her life would unfold this year.

I was convicted to say the least.

I KNOW I’ve grown in my faith, but my friend challenged me to take it to the next level with God. Just that week I had been describing a woe-is-me, negative person to a friend and used the phrase, “She’s like Eeyore on steroids.”  I now felt like the phrase could accurately describe me and how I’ve been viewing God’s ability to work in certain areas of my life, mainly having to do with my kids. I’VE been the Eyeore-on-steroids person who only sees the impossible obstacles we are facing and not the God-who-can-move-mountains-Heavenly-Father who is more than able to meet all our needs, big and small!

I’ve been reading Priscilla Shirer’s book God Is Able, and the description on the back starts with, “Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing.” She explores Ephesians 3:20-21, building her case that God is always up to great things.

This is my summary/narrative of the verses based on her book:

Ephesians 3:20-21. “Now (our current reality and God’s present ability) to Him (eyes on Jesus!) who is able to do (for YOU) exceeding abundantly beyond (Lord, please do this or something better) all that we ask or think (He’s got it totally covered) according to the power that works within us, (flip the switch— depend heavily and consistently on the Spirit of God— make room for HIS ability) to HIM be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. AMEN!

I began journaling prayers for my three kids; what am I believing God for in their lives? On Cory’s page (which happens to be the longest right now…TEENAGERS!!) I wrote a specific prayer for his grade in summer school math. This is actually a HUGE concern in that he missed passing the second semester by one point. ONE POINT!! High school math is HARD and it has been challenging for little mister. Under my journaled prayer, I wrote…

God Is Able!

The class is now halfway done and Cory has a 95!

GOD IS ABLE!!

It might be a small example to you, but to me… it’s miraculous! AND… as I sat down to blog, I literally could have written about each one of my kids. God has answered a specific prayer I had for each one of them THIS WEEK!

So… rather than being an Eeyore in the circumstances of life, I am looking for God in everything and believing He Is Able!

In the words of the rumbly tumbly theologian Winnie the Pooh:

“Yesterday is a history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.”

I’d love to hear from you and how God is working in your present situations. After all, “A friend is someone who helps you up when you’re down, and if they can’t, they lay down beside you and listen.” (Pooh)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking with Friends Through Cancer

It’s my friend’s birthday today and I just keep thinking about her and all she did for me 8 years ago as I walked through scary times with a cancer diagnosis. This is one story that made me smile in the middle of facing my biggest fear.

(summer 2009)

My friend had her blinker on, ready to pull in to a prime parking spot when all of a sudden, a man jumped into the space saying, “We’ve been waiting a long time to park here.”

Where did HE come from?

It was all very odd and, frankly…a bit maddening! The beach was humming and parking spots were hard to come by.

My friend rolled down her window and took me by complete surprise as I heard her shout, “Oh FINE. I’ll just keep driving around my friend who has cancer and is going through CHEMOTHERAPY!”

Our new foe quickly answered back, “Well.  MY friend only has ONE leg!”

It was just the comic relief I needed.  I could not stop laughing at the outrageousness of the exchange I was witnessing. Two people determined to look out for their suffering friends.

It was my first week of chemo and my friend was making sure I was being taken care of.  She had gone with me to get my hair cut super short in anticipation of it all falling out in the next couple of weeks. We had gone out for lunch at a local deli and now wanted to walk on the beach.

Proverbs 11:25 says, “A generous man will prosper. He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.”

What a beautiful Biblical promise! As we purposefully pour our lives into others, God fills US up.

Humility is a fascinating concept. On the one hand, you have to humble yourself to accept help from others. It is very hard to admit you need this assistance. One definition says, “Acknowledging that achievement results from the investment of others in my life.”

Likewise…if you are the one helping someone, you are also showing humility in that you’re putting aside your own interests, schedules and plans for the sake of another.

It’s two sides of the same coin that Christ uses to keep us from pride.

“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4

It was a wonderful day with my friend.  After we circled the parking lot a few times, a spot finally opened up for us RIGHT next to the man we had just encountered. We pulled in and humbly unloaded our things. And…

yes… his friend really DID have only one leg!

 

 

 

Volleyball, Mudslides and Cancer

I KNOW you’re on the edge of your seats, waiting for updates about my life… or at least that’s what I like to tell myself.

Well, I’ve got some!

Let’s start with the basics and see how this unfolds.

Volleyball. What can I say? Apparently, I am a HUGE fan. I had no idea I would love this sport so much!

Cory had an all-day tournament this past weekend. I missed the first match because I was definitely taking my sweet time getting there. I was just so happy to be in the car all by myself, sipping on Starbucks and switching stations back and forth from classic rock to worship music. My definition of solitude!

I made it JUST in time for the second match (is that what you even call it??)… which we won. A match is a total of 3 games, playing until a team wins two. Our little group of parents are super-dedicated to cheering the boys on. After each game in a given match, we switch sides to make sure we are in the best spot to effectively root for our team.  Have I mentioned how stressful this sport is?? The boys really have to work together to execute the perfect bump-set-spike situation. VERY technical! Cory is an outside hitter and is growing in his confidence to nail the ball on the final hit. He’s doing great, especially considering he hasn’t played since Jess was in middle school. Hah!

We made it to the championship round, competing for the bronze. It was wild, three games happening simultaneously, inches apart… like a war-zone with volleyballs coming at you from all directions.

We lost the first game, but came back to win the second by a landslide. The third game would decide it: first team to score 15 would be the winner.

We were smokin’…11-4.  The boys looked unstoppable!

And then…

An injury.

The captain of the team jumped, dove (and possibly collided with someone or something…it all happened so fast) and went down grabbing his ankle. He was HURT and would not be able to finish the game.

This young man is the most outstanding volleyball player, but along with that, he holds the team together like nothing I’ve ever seen. He’s super encouraging to the guys, coaching them after each play… the heart of the team.

We never scored another point.

It was a sad moment, but sweet to see how this team supports each other as the coach led them in praying for their injured captain.

Now we wait to hear if he will be able to play in the games this week.

Ahhh.  Such is life.

In other news… our road is hanging in there.  We are driving on it as if everything is just fine. The sunshine had lifted the “doom and gloom” feeling, but now rain is in the forecast for the whole week. I overheard Ed chatting with a friend about possible repair options this summer, so… I guess that’s the plan: Pray for it to hold ‘til summer!

And…finally, (well, I had more, but apparently rambled on about volleyball more than I thought I would)…

I go to Stanford this Friday. This is the next procedure in the schedule my doctor has set up. I’m not looking forward to it AT ALL, but I’m thankful for the close monitoring.

I’ve been praying Ephesians 3:16-19 over myself and my family recently. We are working our way through some hurts and situations with no idea of outcomes.  We DO know that God is with us and he offers strength, encouragement and hope to whatever parts of our life are injured. He holds our “team” together and we need Him like crazy!

Ephesians 3:16-19…    “I pray that out of God’s glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to KNOW this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Here is an example of how I would take these verses and pray them over Cory:

“Lord, I pray that out of your glorious riches you would strengthen Cory with power through your Spirit in his inner being, so that you would dwell in his heart through faith. I also ask that Cory, being rooted and established in love may have power, together with all of us, to grasp how much you love him; to know how wide and long and high and deep is your love for him. I pray that Cory would KNOW this love that far exceeds anything in his life. Fill him up with more of you… And may his volleyball team win!!” (Doesn’t hurt to ask!)

Praying these verses encourage you! Make them your personal prayer and try praying them for someone else.

I’d love to hear about what God is doing in your life. Have a blessed week and may YOU be filled to the measure of ALL the fullness of God!

 

 

 

 

 

Setting the Scene

Surgery was scheduled for 7:00 a.m., which doesn’t sound horrible until you factor in a 5:00 a.m. arrival time and a 90 minute commute. It was a night of no sleep and we were out the door by 3:30 — after I took a shower and applied mascara! I’m not sure why I wanted to wear mascara, but at the time, it seemed like a priority.

My friend, Brook, came up with the brilliant idea of starting 12 games of Words With Friends to distract me from Ed’s scary driving over Highway 17. I think Eddie would say he’s a confident driver who has the road memorized from years of commuting, but I literally can hardly take it and it’s best if I escape with an app on my phone.

We arrived in record time (no traffic plus Ed’s driving) and began our hike to the cancer center in complete darkness.   Kind of strange they don’t light up the trek. I would swear it is a 2 mile walk, but it comes up 0.4 miles on map-quest… BUT… that doesn’t include getting to ground level out of the parking garage… so… 2 miles!

SO many people were checking in for surgery. We were all politely trying to race one another to the front desk. Sensitive but determined. Hah!

Ed wasn’t allowed to come back with me for the initial prep, which is totally great because he definitely doesn’t need to be there for the weigh-in! I couldn’t believe how many beds were lined up down the narrow room— probably 25 on each side, separated by only a thin drape which meant that while Ed wasn’t hearing how much I weigh, everyone else was.

The nurse began obsessing on my wedding ring because I could not take it off (ties in with the not-wanting-Ed-to-know-my-weight comment). She also was fascinated by my diagnosis of Lynch Syndrome, a rare genetic condition that greatly increases the chance of developing colon cancer.

I just now googled Lynch Syndrome to get the exact definition and I can’t believe what a textbook case I am. It says that people with Lynch may have:

  • Colon cancer before age 45 (I was 44)
  • A family history of colon cancer (for SURE)
  • A family history of endometrial (uterine) cancer (check and CHECK: it’s in my family AND I had it)

AND…..

  • A 40 percent chance of developing a second primary colon cancer within 7 years of the first.

IT’S BEEN EXACTLY 7 YEARS!

I am in shock.

AND…

I should have stopped reading there!

It goes on to list the other cancers people with Lynch Syndrome get.

Pause for a freak-out moment.

I’ve heard all of this before— had genetic counseling— and then life went on. But, realizing I’m a classic case following the script to a tee is quite disconcerting.

(My freak-out moment is interrupting my originally scheduled post!)

What does knowing all this really change?

What do I choose to set as the backdrop of my life?

(These next few sentences are greatly influenced by my cousin Ron and also Ann Voskamp.)

Picture seeing a play in a theater. The theater itself is just a room. Possibly cold, dark and ugly, BUT… the backdrop dictates what you are seeing.

I am choosing to view my life through the backdrop of:

God is always good and I am always loved.

Everything in my life is set against those premises. And… the backdrop always remains unchanged. It’s an outlook of gratitude knowing Jesus is walking with me.

Well, I’m completely off my original script of writing about the surgery.

So… more to come about that day, Ed’s driving, and my need to lose weight! Hah! Way too dramatic over here!